Why should you go to the Detroit Zoo over all the others? Specifically, why the Detroit Zoo right now? It is winter, cold, and the end of February. The last thing on many peoples’ minds is a day trip to the zoo. That’s only reserved for summer vacation fun with the kids, right?
On a random winter day I bucked the trend and navigated my way to Royal Oak. I purchased my ticket and paid for parking. Inside the park of 2000+ animals of hundreds of different species, it became apparent why you should get to the Detroit Zoo TODAY.
Other people were there as well, but I felt like I had the zoo all to myself. It was “the off season.” I had a front row pass to see all the animals and for however long I desired. Many people don’t know that the Detroit Zoo is open year round.
To my advantage, the animals were more interactive than usual. Several of the staff members explained the reason behind this to me. During the hot and humid months, animals tend to want to hide in the shade and be lazy. (Don’t we all?) Sure, the concession stands weren’t open, but I was relaxed in the cool air and the zebras were moving about without a care in the world.
The Polk Penguin Conservation Center was the best benefit of the empty zoo. There are eighty penguins of four different species housed at the Detroit Zoo. Their habitat is a simulated environment of their natural habitat. It is the biggest center for penguin learning in the world. Yes, that is right here in the mitten!
I mingled with a couple of Gentoo penguins up-close as they came right up to the glass. The male penguins were placing rocks in a circle, as it was mating season. One-on-one interaction with exhibitors taught me these tidbits. I proceeded on downstairs where I watched the penguins swim circles from above and alongside.
Tip: During the summer when you enter the zoo, you get a scheduled time to go into the penguin center. Even then, good luck getting right up to the glass to see the penguins. Make winter the time to get here.
The Vitamin Z
My boy is still too young to truly experience the Detroit Zoo. Soon, though, he will take in a lot of “Vitamin Z.” He will experience lots of random moments of awe and joy. Vitamin Z was an award winning campaign that centers on children enjoying everything the zoo has to offer.
I think some of the ‘Vitamin Z’ rubbed off on me as I checked out the camels, tigers, giraffes, lions, anteaters, reptiles, butterflies, and more. The blood was flowing from all the walking and excitement on the zoo’s 125 acres.
Another highlight as I enjoyed the outdoors was The Arctic Ring of Life. I headed back underground to a seventy foot walkway, watching numerous seals swim all around me. I got my polar bear fix at the largest exhibit of its kind in North America. The Detroit Zoo doesn’t do small!
Fact: The Detroit Zoo is the largest paid family attraction in Michigan.
At the back of the grounds, I learned that the Detroit Zoo is the first in the United States to use exhibits without bars. This zoo helped revolutionize the entire field, I cannot wait to hear what they have up their sleeve next. They take it a step further at the Australian Outback Adventure. I walked among many kangaroos and a wallaby with no barriers. Sadly, no hopping took place on the sidewalk alongside me.